The last term of school is often the busiest and most overwhelming. Leading up to the holidays, there are exams, end-of-year performances, Christmas carols, class parties – and that’s just for the kids! Add in your own work parties and family catch ups and getting organised for the holiday season into the mix and it can be a recipe for an overwhelmed and tired family.
Through experience, I have learned that dragging your children from one function to another is not healthy for them or you. When young children are mentally exhausted, as well as sleep deprived, they can become emotional and temperamental. Along with the lack of sleep, eating sugary foods from all the pre-Christmas treats can affect a child’s mood which makes everyone’s lives a challenge!
Here are some of the things you can do to get through the pre-holiday busyness:
- Write down any school, work and social events and functions coming up on a calender. Write down every activity or event the entire family has leading up to Christmas. This way you can visually see everything and decide what works and what doesn’t. Deciding what to attend and what to say no to can put your mind at ease and take away the stress doing too much and trying to fit everything in.
- Feel good about saying no. You don’t need to attend every event and function you are invited to. Only take on the things you can handle without you or your family suffering.
- Pick a time to leave a function and stick to it. This way you can do the rounds and not feel bad about leaving. You don’t have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave a party.
- If you have evening functions, make a point of giving yourself and your children some chill out time at home. Give the kids some free play time and let them relax.
- Try to catch up in larger groups so you don’t have to go to so many smaller gatherings. I find this works out well for all involved.
- Gatherings don’t always have to be in the evenings. If you have children, you can have a barbeque and swim at the beach or a picnic and play at the park with friends.
- With everything going on around you, make a point to schedule some ‘nothing’ time. If you can’t do nothing, do something relaxing which lets your mind and body rest. Remember, physical and mental exhaustion causes overwhelm and stress. ‘Nothing’ time for children is a great way for them to center and ground themselves.
- Attending lots of events and functions can mean your food routine can become irregular. Keep eating the healthy wholesome foods at home as it can become easy to eat take away and fast food when your time poor. Keep some healthy snacks for yourself and the children in your bag for when you are on the run.
- Feeding your children a healthy snack or meal before a party means they won’t reach for too much junk food. A sugar hangover is just as bad as an alcohol hangover and more times than not a child will become overly emotional. Keep a bottle of water for your children in your bag and offer it to them if you see them reaching for a fizzy drink.
- Make sure you’re not compromising your sleep for partying. Lack of sleep can cause stress and overwhelm. Lack of sleep can also affect our moods so we may lash out at others simply because we’re tired and aren’t functioning at 100%. Children definitely need a good night’s sleep every night. A young child can’t explain how they are feeling a lot of the time and can become over tired and irritated.
- If you are planning on having a drink, make sure you work out how many you can safely have if you are driving you and your family home. Have a glass of water between drinks and if you are over the limit, order a taxi to take you and your children home.
- Take advantage of the pre-Christmas sales and buy all of your gifts at once. Write down who you are buying for, get on line or go through the catalogues to see what is available and pick a day where you can get it all done. This will take a lot of pressure off leading up to Christmas and hopefully save you money! Ask if the store you are buying from gift wraps or take advantage of shopping centre wrapping services. It is usually a gold coin donation and can save you a lot of time.
Remember, too much busyness is not healthy for the mind or body and when you try and fit everything in, running from one thing to another, the fun becomes a chore. It is not your job to make everyone else happy, it is your job to enjoy the last part of the year with your family and friends.